After a few months had gone by and the sharpness of memories had dulled somewhat, I went back to our home. It was still there, of course, and I walked through all the rooms systematically as if giving a tour to my own self. Nothing had changed except in one respect, her leaving had robbed every object of all meaning. For she was the one who had taught me how to suspend disbelief, to want these things to be real, and for that want to give them meaning. I stepped out through the wire-mesh sliding door off our living room and down the few steps to our private beach, just as I had done many a time in the past, only this time I was without her at my side. No more racing her to our hammock suspended between the palm trees. No more catching her clothes laughingly flung as she disrobed ahead of me on her way to diving into the water. No more wrestling her down to the sand naked. No more urgent coupling in the warm wash of the waves. No more whispered conversations that outlasted the moon. No more. Never more.
And yet, as I stood leaning against the wood siding on the wall with eyes closed, listening to the periodic sound of the waves washing ashore, I could hear her laughter. I could see us both entwined in the hammock talking. I smile as I tell her that in my dream we dance on this very beach many decades from now, when we are both old and infirm. I have told her this dream many a time. And like always, she laughs and kisses me, telling me that she has every intention of staying just as young and supple as she is now for all that time. The feeling of her kiss lingers on my lips as I open my eyes to the empty beach. Nothing is real. But then, it never was. She was my reason once to suspend disbelief and manufacture reality out of unhurried words and stilted animations. And all I have to do to have her back with me is to make reality again, only this time out of nothing except for memories. Then she would be mine. For ever more. And I can keep the promise of my dream.